Children are a blessing that comes from obeying God: Leviticus 26:9; Deuteronomy 28:1-4; 6:3; 7:13; 13:17 ff
Pro-Fertility verses: Leviticus 20:18 (abstaining during monthly periods increases chance of fertilization after period);
Genesis 1:27-28 (The command to be fruitful has never been revoked); I Cor 7:3-5 (Not compatible with "Natural Family Planning")
Anti-Infertility Verses: Infertile manners of intercourse were condemned: Beastiality (Leviticus 20:15, 16), Homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), Withdrawal (Genesis 38:6-10, Deuteronomy 25:5-10). In fact, all of these things incurred the death penalty. There was no death penalty for improper manners of intercourse which were yet fertile (Fornication and polygamy).
Semen is referred to as offspring even before it joins the egg: Hebrews 7:9-10; Job 10:8-11
Childlessness is a curse: Leviticus 20:20-21; Hosea 9:10-17
Having children is part of the whole picture of a family:
The Father is to provide for his family--I Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 6:4
The Mother is to work at home and have children: I Timothy 2:15; Titus 2:3-5, Malachi 2:15, I Timothy 5:9,10, 14
Children are a blessing to parents: Proverbs 10:1; 23:24-25; Mark 7: 10-13
Parents are to teach children: Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19 HISTORY:
B.C. has existed for millennia. Ancient Egyptian papyruses have been discovered with references to chemical contraceptives. The IUD was used by ancient Arabic caravan traders. Infanticide has always been widespread in pagan cultures either through sacrifices to appease spirits or through abandonment (i.e. Oedipus Rex).
God's people, Israel, did not practice B.C. They WANTED all the children they could get and considered them an unqualified blessing. The one man mentioned as practicing B.C., Onan, was struck dead for it. (Onan's judgment was not due to a simple refusal to raise up offspring for the widow. If he wanted to refuse that duty, he could have followed the teaching of Deuteronomy 25:5-10, as Ruth's nearest-of-kin did, removed his sandal, and passed on the responsibility to the next-nearest-of-kin--which, in Ruth's case was Boaz. See Ruth 4:1-12. No, the issue was that Onan practiced birth control by spilling his seed.)
Christians have also historically not practiced B.C. This is not a Roman Catholic church issue--their practice is a carry-over from a time when ALL Christians did not practice B.C. The Protestant Synod of Dort equated contraception with abortion. Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and many other founders of Protestantism linked B.C. with murder. The Pilgrims who founded our country considered B.C. as bad as adultery and disqualified anyone from church leadership who practiced it.
The change of Christians in the U.S. to using B.C. has been concurrent with many other bad trends: feminism, higher criticism, worldliness, abuse of spiritual gifts and church offices, decline of purity in the church, and a lack of evangelism and discipleship. There is more recently, however, a growing movement in the U.S. of Christians ditching B.C.
Obviously, we shouldn't base our position on whether or not OTHER people practice B.C., but if the non-use of B.C. has been a universal trend for the vast majority of Christian history, we should not lightly dismiss it, but rather examine WHY.
CON'S OF B.C.:
All forms of B.C. increase abortion. Contrary to what some doctors say, there is no such thing as a chemical contraceptive (Pill, implant) that does not cause abortion from 2-5% of the time. Although the primary function of most of these "Pills" is to prevent ovulation, they do not prevent all ovulation (people still occasionally get pregnant), so they ALL have a secondary function of irritating the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg will not be able to implant, and thus will abort. There are several other pills whose primary effect is to abort fertilized eggs; the IUD also does this as its primary function. Apparently, the body also aborts some pregnancies naturally at very early stages, without provocation, and all methods of mechanical prevention of fertilization (condom, diaphragm, Rhythm, N.F.P.) actually increase the number of these natural abortions by perpetuating the monthly menstrual cycle, which can be suspended if a woman gets pregnant often.
Biblical support is missing: B.C. puts a Christian in the shaky position of Onan, who was killed. I Corinthians 7:3-5 gives the only reason for abstinence in marriage--Prayer and fasting, not to avoid children. Leviticus 12:1-5 and 20:18 establish a sexual pattern that actually increases fertility rather than decreasing it!
It's inconvenient: I have never heard a single positive comment about diaphragms and spermicidal jelly or condoms from people who use them (and condoms are not highly effective at preventing fertilization anyway). And, of course, it's not fun to abstain for long periods of time as per the "Rhythm" or "Natural Family Planning" methods; abstaining for long periods of time can contribute to the sin of adultery. Using B.C. methods causes a woman to undergo uncomfortable periods every month, but going without B.C., periods can be rare.
Health problems: If you take the pill, you are five times more likely to die of circulatory disorders. The pill can also cause permanent infertility and a host of other major and minor problems. The IUD often causes lacerations in the uterus which result in severe pain and permanent infertility. Abortion is a serious cause of breast cancer. It is also a proven fact that the longer child-bearing is delayed, the more likely a woman is to get endometriosis.
OBJECTIONS HOLD NO WATER:
Overpopulation is a local problem in some cities, but it is not a world crisis. If every person in the world today were given one acre of land (therefore families living together would have far more than 1 acre of land), everyone living in the world today could just about fit within the Continental U.S. alone. (According to agricultural studies, an acre would give far more than enough land for living space and food-production for one person!) It is also a fact that humans adapt and create new methods of coping with scarce resources. Over a thousand years ago, thinkers were afraid that the earth was too overpopulated then for the human race to survive, but we have adapted fine!
Multiplying like rabbits: The average number of children borne by monogamous couples not practicing birth control is only five!
Cost: The scary, high figures you see quoted are based on expensive C-sections, baby formula, baby food, frivolous baby furniture, not getting a baby shower, using day care, etc., all of which is unnecessary. It doesn't take long before children are old enough to become income producers, anyway. Additionally, God provides for His children. See Psalm 23:1; 37:25-26; 84:11; Proverbs 3:33; 14:26; Malachi 3:8-10; Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:6, 19; I Timothy 6:6-10.
The myth that children of large families are less intelligent is sheer bunk. 76% of U.S. Presidents came from families of 5 or more children! Almost every famous Classical musician came from a family of more than 7. Comparing an upper-income only-child with the 10 children of a dysfunctional family in the "Projects" is comparing apples and oranges; intelligence is based on the intelligence and discipline of the parents, not the number of children.
Stewardship: Look at the famous passage on stewardship: the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Who decided how many talents each servant could steward, the servant or the Master?
Technology is good. Not necessarily so. The H-bomb is intelligent, highly advanced technology, but that doesn't mean we should blow up the world with it! Simply because technology (such as the Pill) is available doesn't mean we should use it! We must first evaluate the moral ramifications of its use.
What if I have health problems? There may be exceptions, but are you looking for an excuse, or are you trying to be faithful to God? Although many doctors won't admit it, many female problems would be solved rather than exacerbated by having children. One woman who had a hole in her lung that would not heal was told never to have children because she could not provide enough oxygen for two. She got pregnant anyway, and the pressure of the growing uterus against the lung sealed the hole and healed it!
Bible only for Agrarian community. No, God's principles apply to all cultures. The famous verse about having a "full quiver" of children (Psalm 127:3-5) was written by a politician in a big city and was written about a soldier. The context is not agrarian at all!
Sex only for Procreation? No, this is the Argumentum ad absurdum fallacy. Notice that there is a difference between trying to avoid children, trying to create children, and not worrying about it either way. We believe the Bible teaches that the last of the three is the best! Besides, no matter which of the three approaches you take, you can't help having pleasure, therefore sex by its very nature is not limited to procreation!
A sovereign God can override B.C. Let us apply the same logic to another context: suppose a murderer were to say, "I've bought a knife, and I'm going over to Fred's house to kill him, but if God doesn't want me to kill Fred in cold blood, He will find a way to stop me." This logical progression is exactly the same as that of someone who says they don't know whether B.C. is wrong or not, but that they will do it anyway and God will stop them if it's wrong. This is not a logical position. It is irresponsible to purposefully not decide whether what you're doing is right or wrong! Here's one more question: "Why would God want to give children to someone who doesn't want them?"
Given the Bible's pro-children stance and its anti-infertility stance, given the fact that Christians have historically not practiced birth control, given the problems caused by birth control, and given the fact that most reasons for using birth control are not valid, it is a reasonable and good conclusion for a Christian to not practice birth control.